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Systems and methods for the detection of transmission facilities

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Systems and methods for the detection of transmission facilities


A method of detecting a transmitting device within an obstruction rich environment is disclosed. The method may involve detecting the transmitting device with a wireless transmission detection facility; communicating signal information relating to the detected transmitting device from the wireless transmission detection facility to a central unit; determining the location of the transmitting device; displaying information of the detection and location of the transmitting device through a user interface; and providing an action facility for causing actions related to the detected transmitting device.
Related Terms: Obstruction User Interface Wireless

Browse recent Binj Laboratories, Inc. patents - ,
Inventors: Joseph S. Noonan, Barry R. Nadler, Julius R. Insler
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130012205 - Class: 4554351 (USPTO) - 01/10/13 - Class 455 
Telecommunications > Radiotelephone System >Zoned Or Cellular Telephone System >Registration

Inventors:

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130012205, Systems and methods for the detection of transmission facilities.

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CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This application claims the benefit of the earlier filing date, pursuant to 35 USC §120, as a Continuation of that patent application entitled “Systems and Methods for Detection of Transmission Facilities,” filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Jul. 27, 2009 and afforded Ser. No. 12/510,006, which claims the benefit as a continuation of that patent application entitled “Systems and Methods for Detection of Transmission Facilities,” filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Jul. 14, 2006 and afforded Ser. No. 11/457,786, which claims the benefit of the filing dates, pursuant to 35 USC 119, to U.S. Provisional App. No. 60/699,281 filed on Jul. 14, 2005 and U.S. Provisional App. No. 60/739,877 filed on Nov. 23, 2005. This application is further claims the benefit of the earlier filing date, pursuant to 35 USC 119, to that provisional patent application, entitled “System and Method of Detection of Transmission Facilities”, “filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Jun. 19, 2010 and afforded Ser. No. 61/356,556. The entire content of these applications being incorporated by reference, herein.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to location of transmission facilities and more particularly to the location of transmission facilities, such as cellular phones, in correctional institutions and controlling their use.

2. Background

There are many facilities, such as government buildings, and in particular correctional facilities, such as prisons, that do not permit cellular phone usage on the premises or even possession of cell phones in the premises. Finding and preventing usage of cell phones and other transmission facilities is difficult, and a need exists for improved methods of locating such devices, as well as a need for detecting such devices upon ingress to a facility.

SUMMARY

Provided herein are methods and systems for locating transmission facilities such as cell phones, mobile phones, satellite phones, radios, transmitters, PDAs, beepers, pagers, walkie-talkies, email devices, instant messenger devices, voice over IP devices, and other types of wireless communication or transmission facilities, and when necessary controlling such transmission facilities.

Embodiments relate to locating and managing the use and presence of wireless communication facilities. Embodiments relate to detecting such devices when they transmit a signal. Other embodiments relate to detecting non-active transmission facilities.

In certain embodiments the methods and systems disclosed herein include methods and systems for detecting a transmitting device within an obstruction rich environment. The methods and systems may include detecting the transmitting device with a wireless transmission detection facility; communicating signal information relating to the detected transmitting device from the wireless transmission detection facility to a central unit; determining the location of the transmitting device; displaying information of the detection and location of the transmitting device through a user interface; and providing an action facility for causing actions related to the detected transmitting device. In embodiments, the wireless transmission detection facility is an antenna. In embodiments, the antenna is a dual dipole embedded antenna. In embodiments, the dual dipole embedded antenna is tuned to receive cell phone transmissions. In embodiments the dual dipole embedded antenna is tuned to receive a frequency band of approximately 700 to 950 MHz. In embodiments the dual dipole embedded antenna is tuned to receive a frequency band of approximately 1.7 to 2.0 GHz. In embodiments the dual dipole antenna is tuned to receive signals in frequency bands of approximately 700 to 950 MHz and 1.7 to 2.0 GHz. In embodiments the obstruction rich environment is a correctional facility. In embodiments the obstruction rich environment is a mall. In embodiments communicating the information relating to the detected transmitting device from the wireless transmission detection facility to a central unit involves wireless communications. In embodiments the wireless communications are 802.11 communications. In embodiments determining the location of the transmitting device is accomplished through transmission triangulation. In embodiments location of the transmitting device is accomplished through a known location of a single antenna.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

The systems and methods described herein may be understood by reference to the following figures:

FIG. 1 shows a transmission detection, identification, and reporting system.

FIG. 2 illustrates a system for detecting a transmission facility

FIG. 3 illustrates antenna configurations.

FIG. 4 illustrates a system for detecting a transmission facility in a cell environment.

FIG. 5 shows a system for detecting a transmission facility in a cell environment.

FIG. 6 illustrates a block diagram relating to actions taken when detecting transmission facilities.

FIG. 7 shows a transmission facility detection system wherein an antenna array is used to calculate location.

FIG. 8 shows a transmission facility detection system wherein a signal source is differentiated between two adjacent rooms.

FIG. 9 illustrates a transmission facility detection system wherein multiple antennas are used to identify the location of a signal source after an omni-directional antenna has detected its presence.

FIG. 10 shows a schematic diagram of a system for detecting signals of a transmission facility.

FIG. 11 shows a schematic diagram of an alternate embodiment of a system for detecting a signal of a transmission facility.

FIG. 12 shows a schematic diagram of a main circuit board within a system for detecting transmission facilities.

FIG. 13 shows a schematic diagram of a sub-station in a system for detecting transmission facilities.

FIG. 14 illustrates a null detection facility.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF FIGURES

Detection of a transmission facility, such as a mobile phone or hand-held radio transmitter, or other transmission facility as described herein, within an obstruction rich environment, such as a facility with many physical barriers to electronic transmission, is difficult to achieve. Referring to FIG. 1, the transmission detection, identification, and reporting system 100 described herein provides a method of detecting a transmission facility 202, such as depicted in FIG. 2, within an environment rich in obstructions 102. One embodiment of the transmission detection, identification, and reporting system 100 may involve the detection of a mobile phone within a heavily walled and metal-barred government facility such as a correctional facility. In this embodiment, the system may utilize an array of antennas 104 selectively placed within the facility, collection substations 108 for localized collection of detected signals, a central unit 110 for the processing of incoming signals from the facility, a display 112 for showing the location of the detected transmission facility 202, and an action facility 114 for implementing standard procedures in the event of a detection. In this embodiment, the communications between the antennas 104 and the substations 108, and between the substations 108 and the central unit 110, may be wireless to make installation and maintenance of the system within the facility, cost and time effective. Selective placement of the antennas 104, combined with algorithms and methods for determining location of the transmission facility 202, may allow a substantially improved means for locating transmission facilities 202, such as mobile phones, in an otherwise heavily shielded environment.

In embodiments the antenna 104 may be a multi-dipole embedded antenna. Two examples of dual dipole embedded antennas are provided in FIG. 3 as a first dual-dipole embedded antenna 302 and a second dual dipole embedded antenna 304. In embodiments the antenna may be adapted to receive one, two, three, four, or more bandwidths. In embodiments the antenna 104 may be a dipole antenna 104, a Yagi-Uda antenna 104, a loop antenna 104, a quad antenna 104, a micro-strip antenna 104, a quad antenna 104, a helical antenna 104, a phase array antenna 104, a patch antenna or the like.

In embodiments, the transmission facility 202 may be a mobile phone, such as a flip phone, a slide phone, a cellular phone, a handset, a satellite phone, a 3G phone, a wireless phone, a cordless phone or the like. In embodiments, the transmission facility 202 may be a radio, such as a walkie-talkie, a mobile radio, a short-wave radio, or the like. In embodiments, the transmission facility 202 may be a wireless communication device like a laptop computer, a wireless modem, 802 transceivers technology and the like.

In embodiments, the transmission band from the transmission may be within the radio or other electromagnetic frequency spectrum, such as extremely low frequency (ELF), super low frequency (SLF), ultra low frequency (ULF), very low frequency (VLF), low frequency (LF), medium frequency (MF), high frequency (HF), very high frequency (VHF), ultra high frequency (UHF), super high frequency (SHF), extremely high frequency (EHF), microwave, a frequency suitable for 802.11x wireless communications, ultra wide band (UWB), Bluetooth, or the like.

In embodiments, the obstruction 102 rich environment may be a building, such as a corrections facility, a school, a government facility, a store, a mall, a residence, a hotel, a motel, or the like. In embodiments, the obstruction 102 rich environment may be a large confined space, such as a courtyard, a food court, a recess area, a hallway, greenhouse, recreation room, gymnasium, auditorium, kitchen, cafeteria, craft area, work area, library, prison yard, or the like. In embodiments, the obstruction 102 may be a transmission, device transmission obstruction 102, such as cinderblock, cement, rebar, wire cage, metal, metal coated surface, or the like. In embodiments, the obstruction 102 may be other construction materials, such as wood, glass, rug, flooring materials, roofing materials, and the like.

In embodiments, the transmitting signal information from the antenna 104 module to the central unit 110 may be through a communications connection, such as an IEEE 802.15.4 wireless network, IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, or the and the like. In embodiments, the communications connection may utilize CAT-5, RJ-45, RS-232 connections, and the like. In embodiments the communications connection may utilize an optical connection, such as a wireless infrared link, an optical fiber, and the like.

In embodiments, the transmitting signal information from the antenna 104 module to the central unit 110 may contain data, such as CDMA, CDPD, GSM, TDMA, and the like, and may be used to discriminate which service signal is being used, such as Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint, and the like. The detection of the cell phones may be resolved down to cell phone manufacturer and cell phone provider.

In embodiments, the transmitting signal information to the central unit 110 may be made through an intermediate connection, such as a substation 108, router, switch, hub, bridge, multiplexer, modem, network card, network interface, processing unit, preprocessor, computer, repeater, antenna 104, and the like.

In embodiments, the central unit 110 may have in part a computer, a computer system, a network of computers, a state machine, a sequencer, a microprocessor, a digital signal processor, an audio processor, a preprocessor, a microprocessor, and the like.

In embodiments, the central unit 110 may process information, such as location information, such as the location of people, inmates, corrections personnel, visitors, all personnel within the facility, equipment, resources, weapons, products, incoming goods, outgoing goods, and the like. In embodiments, the information may be type of signal, such as mobile phone standard protocols such as CDMA, CDPA, GSM, TDMA, and the like. In embodiments, the information may be an event notification, such as personnel under duress, an emergency medical condition, a call for assistance, a fire, a call for police, a theft, and the like. In embodiments, the processed information may allow for the tracking of the person or object in possession of the transmission facility 202, such as a mobile phone, a radio, a weapon, a product, a resource, and the like. In embodiments, the processed information may allow for the discrimination and/or association between people or objects, such as determining the ownership of the transmission facility 202, the assignment of the source of transmission, current location of a transmission facility 202 compared to its predicted location, and the like. In embodiments, the processed information may also have time codes and unique identifiers assigned.

In embodiments, the central unit 110 may have a display 112, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display 112 (LCD), electronic paper, 3D display 112, head-mounted display 112, projector, segmented display 112, computer display 112, graphic output display 112, and the like. In embodiments, the central unit 110 may have an action facility 114, comprising a user interface for causing actions relating to the detected transmission facility 202, such as closing a door, sealing a room, deploying and action signal, initiating an alarm, and the like.

In embodiments the functions of a central unit 110 as described herein may be replaced by an alternate configuration, such as a configuration of multiple computers, such as a group of servers, processors, or the like, operating in parallel. In embodiments the methods and systems described herein may involve locating computing capabilities in alternative network configurations, such as in a mesh network or a peer-to-peer network.

In embodiments, the location of a transmission facility 202 may be determined by various radiolocation or signal measurement techniques, including measuring phase, amplitude, time, or a combination of these; or by identifying and locating an area associated with an antenna 104 with the highest signal strength. In embodiments, the location of a transmission facility 202 may be determined when the transmission facility 202 is powered off though detection of a null in the band pass of a transmitted frequency sweep due to the presence of a mobile phone antenna.

In embodiments, a method of detecting a transmission facility 202 (e.g. cell phone) when the transmission facility 202 is not powered may require a transmitting device and a receiving device that can recognize the signature of an antenna 104 associated with the transmission facility 202. By transmitting a known frequency and receiving the disturbance pattern produced by having a particular antenna 104 design in the transmission path, the pattern or ‘signature’ of that antenna 104 can be characterized. In embodiments, this characterization may be evaluated with a microprocessor 1402 with results output to a display 112. A database of these signatures can be placed into the device, and as the transmitter sweeps across the various cell frequencies, a pattern received can be matched against the database patterns to determine the presence of transmission facilities 202. In embodiments, any class of antenna (e.g. WI-FI, Blackberry, Walkie-Talkie, etc.) can be classified and identified.

In embodiments, the range of a hand held device that can detect an inactive transmission facility is approximately 10 feet. In embodiments, greater distances could be attained for stationary units by increasing the power.

Radiolocation, also referred to as radio-determination, as used herein encompasses any process of finding the location of a transmitter by means of the propagation properties of waves. The angle, at which a signal is received, as well as the time it takes to propagate, may both contribute to the determination of the location of the transmission facility 202. There are a variety of methods that may be employed in the determination of the location of a transmission facility 202. Methods include (i) a cell-sector system that collects information pertaining to cell and sector ID\'s, (ii) the assisted-global positioning satellite (GPS) technology utilizing a GPS chipset in a mobile communication facility, (iii) standard GPS technology, (iv) enhanced-observed time difference technology utilizing software residing on a server that uses signal transmission of time differences received by geographically dispersed radio receivers to pinpoint a user\'s location, (v) time difference of arrival, (vi) time of arrival, (vii) angle of arrival, (viii) triangulation of cellular signals, (ix) location based on proximity to known locations (including locations of other radio-transmitters), (x) map-based location, or any combination of any of the foregoing, as well as other location facilities known to those of skill in the art.

Obstructions 102 to radio wave propagation may greatly reduce the effectiveness of many of the conventional radiolocation methods due to obstruction of the line-of-sight between the transmission facilities 202 and the receiving antennas 104. However, by employing a large array of antennas 104, positioned so as to maintain line-of-sight between possible transmission facility 202 locations and the receiving antennas 104, several of these methods may be effectively used in the location of the transmission facility 202. These methods include time difference of arrival, time of arrival, and angle of arrival, amplitude comparison, and the like. The time difference of arrival method determines the difference in the time, or the difference in phase, of the same radio-transmitting signal arriving at different receiving antennas 104. Together with the known propagation speed of the radio wave, allows the determination of the location of the transmission facility 202. The time of arrival method determines the absolute time of reception of the signal at different receiving antennas 104, and again, along with the known propagation speed of the radio wave, allows the determination of the location of the transmission facility 202. The angle of arrival method utilizes direction of transmission to different antennas 104 to determine the location of the transmission facility. Amplitude comparison method compares the strength of the signal detected at each antenna to determine the location of a transmission facility 202. For example, two antennas 104 located in the same room would detect different signal amplitudes for the same transmission facility 202 output, thereby providing a means of determining which antenna 104 the transmission facility 202 is closer to. Increasing the number of antennas 104 therefore increases the resolution with which the location of the transmission facility 202 may be determined. All of these methods, and combinations of these methods, may employ mathematical processes such as triangulation, trilateration, multilateration, or like, in determining the location of the transmission facility.

Triangulation is the process of finding coordinates and distance to a point by calculating the length of one side of a triangle, given measurements of angles and/or sides of the triangle formed by that point, such as the target transmission facility 202, and two other known reference points, such as the receiving antennas 104. The calculation of the location of the transmission facility 202 may then be performed utilizing the law of sines from trigonometry. Tri-lateration is a method similar to triangulation, but unlike triangulation, which uses angle measurements, together with at least one known distance, to calculate the subject\'s location, tri-lateration uses the known locations of two or more reference points and the measured distance to the subject, such as the transmission facility 202, and each reference point, such as the receiving antennas 104. Multi-lateration, or hyperbolic positioning, is similar to tri-lateration, but multi-lateration uses measurements of time difference of arrival, rather than time of arrival, to estimate location using the intersection of hyperboloids.

While several radiolocation and triangulation techniques have been described in connection with locating the transmitting device, it should be understood that one skilled in the art would appreciate that there are other location methodologies and such location methodologies are encompassed by the present invention. For example, in embodiments, the location of a single antenna may be known and the single antenna may detect a transmitting device. The location of the transmitting device may be estimated through its known proximity to the single antenna location. This may provide adequate location resolution for certain applications of the technology. Similarly, two or more antennas may be used and each of the antenna locations may be known. When each of the antennas receives a transmission, the corresponding signal strengths may be compared. The one with the highest signal strength may be determined as the one closest to the transmitting device so the corresponding antenna location may provide enough location resolution for certain applications.

In an embodiment of the transmission detection, identification, and reporting system 100, a corrections facility, with its substantial and inherent obstruction 102 rich environment, presents an ideal example of how the transmission detection, identification, and reporting system 100 may significantly increase the detection of transmission facilities 202 such as mobile phones, a significant challenge to authorities of the correction facilities. In this embodiment, the system maybe placed throughout the corrections facility for the purpose of alerting the corrections staff that cell phone activity is taking place, the location of the activity and the type, i.e., Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon, and the like. The following technology may also allow for a standalone detection unit 408 or set of detection units 408 to detect cell phones in schools, buildings and other environments in which the facility\'s or area\'s provider does not wish the use of cell phones and is interested in the detection of cell phone use.

In an embodiment, the system may include an integrated antenna 104 and RF detector (together referred to as a detector unit 408), a substation 108, whose purpose may be to communicate with each detector unit 408 within its sector, and report activity to the central unit 110 which reports confirmed activity, type of cell phone, and location to the display 112 of the central unit 110. These detection units 408 may be used individually or in conjunction with each other and may triangulate detection within a specific area. The outside yard areas may be monitored by detection units 408, which may cover large areas, such as 25×25 foot sectors or 5×5 foot sectors, to localize the detection of a cell phone and track its position from one sector to any adjoining sector. That is, as the person moves with a phone, the changing position of that phone may be reported. If the phone moves inside the facility, tracking may continue as interior detection units 408 detect the phone.

In an embodiment, within these basic groups of detection units 408 may be various detection unit 408 types. Some detection unit 408s may be designed to be hard wired via RJ-45 connectors and CAT 5e cable, other detection units 408 may use 802.11b (WI-FI) wireless communications between detection units 408, and there may also be an Infra Red (IR) set of detection units 408 which utilize optical communications techniques. Each communications type may have a specific purpose within the corrections facility or other type of building and/or areas. Hard-wired units may be used when it is not possible to use either an optical unit or a WI-FL unit. Used when there are walls embedded with metal or where the distance and the obstructions 102 may preclude a wireless technique. WI-FL detection units 408 be used when it is effective to communicate in an area where there are obstructions 102 such as cement walls or cement with embedded rebar walls, facades, and the like. Optical detection units 408 may be used in areas where clear, line-of-site communications may be possible. Optical detection units 408 may operate over relatively long distances, such as 3,000 feet, while WI-Fl detection units 408 may be limited to shorter distances, such as 250 feet.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130012205 A1
Publish Date
01/10/2013
Document #
13603477
File Date
09/05/2012
USPTO Class
4554351
Other USPTO Classes
455438
International Class
/
Drawings
15


Obstruction
User Interface
Wireless


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